LDR Advice from Michelle and Frank

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Long distance boyfriend’s job takes time away from relationship

October 1, 2008

I met this guy early this summer and went on a handful of dates. One of them was even an invite to stay over at his vacation spot. He was away from the country for a couple of years in Europe and then decided to come back to Canada to settle down. With this in mind and him being a great guy were the reasons I started dating him. 2 months into dating he had to go back to Europe to tie up some loose ends…unfortunately his company back in Europe offered him a job deal he can’t refuse. He did move back and we decided to try the long distance thing. So at this point we were getting close but not really the girlfriend/boyfriend stage. But I did notice even before he left the closeness we had was not there anymore. I pointed it out to him and he mentioned since it was long distance he was unsure of how things would go between us and didn’t want to go in too deep in case this becomes a painful situation for both of us. But at the end we agreed to try it out and be exclusive as we still liked each other a lot. He also warned me that he would be very busy and may not be able to put in the effort he would like.

Now he has been in Europe for a month and he is extremely busy to the point where he’s barely eating and working 14-16 hrs days. As you can imagine, this has put a strain to the communication frequency…where we are talking a couple of times a week.

At first I thought I should try to be more initiative and take on the onus of calling him, and trying to not call him every day knowing he’s busy and working at warp speed, and even sent him a care package. I’ve already mentioned that it’s hard that he isn’t calling me as much as I do…and we’ve maybe skyped 3 times since he left. He mentioned things will change once he gets more settled, have a proper cell instead of a pay as you go type, etc. But this has been a month now…so I’m thinking if it’s only been a month, and I’m having a hard time dealing with this…how much more longer can I take this. At the same time, I don’t want to be needy and want to be understanding that he’s undertaking a very stressful and busy job position. I’m trying to do the ‘take each day as it comes’ but I can’t help think about the future. I think without the constant communication and effort..I don’t see us making a strong connection to sustain this LDR.

So I’m confused of what to do and what to think? And how to communicate this to him so not to feel I’m bringing up problems each time we speak…as we dont’ frequently talk.

T

Michelle says…

First of all, I think you have done well in being as supportive as you can be in such a tough situation.

You said that he has made promises that things will be better once he’s more settled and has a new phone plan. Has he given you a time frame of when that will happen? If he hasn’t it isn’t out of the question to ask him when he plans on getting a new phone or asking him how long it will take for him to get settled.

Bringing up how his infrequent calls without it sounding like a problem in his eyes, is going to be tough, and I’m not exactly sure how you can go about that. In your situation, I really think that this should be something you deal with head on. Communication is obviously very important to you, and he needs to know that. He also needs to know that you care about how much effort he puts into your relationship. I know that you don’t want to use up your precious time with him on the phone having this discussion, but when you really think about it, you’re not wasting time at all. It will be time well spent in the long run; all couples have to work together on problems in their relationship to make it better.

To try to avoid making him get defensive and upset, you may want to start off telling him that you’re not upset with him and that you understand that he has a lot of work to do for his job. Tell him that you’re just upset with the situation. And stress that. You already know that he has said, if it weren’t for the demands of this job, he’d have more time to put in the effort you deserve into this relationship.

Try to look on the bright side. You said, “I’m thinking if it’s only been a month, and I’m having a hard time dealing with this…how much more longer can I take this?” But you’ve made it that month! And that first month has got to be the worst. It was his first month back in Europe on the job. He has been transitioning and getting settled. Things may very well get better from here.

If there is a huge time difference that is also affecting your time together see if you both can communicate in other ways that doesn’t require you both to be free. Email is a classic example. I suggested a site on our Things For LDR Couples To Do list. It is EyeJot.com, and it lets you send video messages back and forth. You may not be able to use Skype at the same time, but maybe he can find a few minutes out of every day to send you a short video. And you could do the same. Don’t hesitate to request something small like this. It’s only a few minutes, and it’s something he could do right before he goes to bed at the end of the day when all his work is done. And even if you still only talk twice a week, wouldn’t being able to see him on a daily basis, even for a few minutes a day (and knowing he is putting the effort in to do it for you) make you feel better about the whole situation? I really think this is a possibility if he won’t have much free time for phone calls (or has a better cell phone plan) in the near future.

Hope this helps!

Michelle

T says…

Hi Michelle,

Thanks for the quick reply and I look forward to Frank’s response too. The other thing I forgot to mention is that the last we talked about this, he said he only has the mental and emotional energy to put in the effort that he has now. When I mentioned that it’s also nice and would make me happy if he could maybe even call for 1-2 minutes out of his day just to say hi. He replied that he doesn’t have the energy too. So I think even doing the video thing at the end of the day he may not be able to do….or willing to do. This is not just a job he’s undertaking he pretty much owns the company and trying to bring it out from near bankruptcy. So from that standpoint I understand the stress and the huge responsibility.

So it’s tough for me to see how long I can be in a long distance relationship when obviously taking care of his company is his main priority. I don’t want to add pressure on him but it just really feels that there is not a lot of room to focus on our relationship. On the other hand, I feel it’s too soon and rash of me to want to end it. And he is the first guy where I felt he was right for me (or at least had that feeling when we were in the same location and going out).

I was thinking my approach would be to ease off and lessen my focus and stress on the LDR. And just keep it casual and friendly with him, and when he has more stability that maybe something can reblossom again…but for the time being I’ll continue with my life and move on a bit. ButI’m still confused and torned 🙂

Frank says…

Hi T, I think, simply, that this relationship needs to ease off for the time being. There is no sense in you putting in a ton of effort to be with him when he himself can’t return the effort. This is not to say that you should completely end it. From the little about your relationship you told us, it seems like you like each other a good amount, and to just give it all up would be a waste. Maintain contact, but consider keeping it casual, even to the point of seeing other people if you really want to.

I read the little extra you sent. I think that trying to force, or at least asking him to put in more effort is causing him more stress. It will be tough, but becoming just friends for the time might be a good idea; friends that care about each other a lot. Send care packages occasionally, and an e-mail here and there. But, yes, I feel this might be the best way for both of you to stay sane. Trying to force this relationship with all this stress might break you two apart for good. You need to maintain your happiness, don’t forget. Good luck!

Frank

<< Back to Long Distance Advice Q&A's

Long distance boyfriend’s job takes time away from relationship

October 1, 2008

I met this guy early this summer and went on a handful of dates. One of them was even an invite to stay over at his vacation spot. He was away from the country for a couple of years in Europe and then decided to come back to Canada to settle down. With this in mind and him being a great guy were the reasons I started dating him. 2 months into dating he had to go back to Europe to tie up some loose ends…unfortunately his company back in Europe offered him a job deal he can’t refuse. He did move back and we decided to try the long distance thing. So at this point we were getting close but not really the girlfriend/boyfriend stage. But I did notice even before he left the closeness we had was not there anymore. I pointed it out to him and he mentioned since it was long distance he was unsure of how things would go between us and didn’t want to go in too deep in case this becomes a painful situation for both of us. But at the end we agreed to try it out and be exclusive as we still liked each other a lot. He also warned me that he would be very busy and may not be able to put in the effort he would like.

Now he has been in Europe for a month and he is extremely busy to the point where he’s barely eating and working 14-16 hrs days. As you can imagine, this has put a strain to the communication frequency…where we are talking a couple of times a week.

At first I thought I should try to be more initiative and take on the onus of calling him, and trying to not call him every day knowing he’s busy and working at warp speed, and even sent him a care package. I’ve already mentioned that it’s hard that he isn’t calling me as much as I do…and we’ve maybe skyped 3 times since he left. He mentioned things will change once he gets more settled, have a proper cell instead of a pay as you go type, etc. But this has been a month now…so I’m thinking if it’s only been a month, and I’m having a hard time dealing with this…how much more longer can I take this. At the same time, I don’t want to be needy and want to be understanding that he’s undertaking a very stressful and busy job position. I’m trying to do the ‘take each day as it comes’ but I can’t help think about the future. I think without the constant communication and effort..I don’t see us making a strong connection to sustain this LDR.

So I’m confused of what to do and what to think? And how to communicate this to him so not to feel I’m bringing up problems each time we speak…as we dont’ frequently talk.

T

Michelle says…

First of all, I think you have done well in being as supportive as you can be in such a tough situation.

You said that he has made promises that things will be better once he’s more settled and has a new phone plan. Has he given you a time frame of when that will happen? If he hasn’t it isn’t out of the question to ask him when he plans on getting a new phone or asking him how long it will take for him to get settled.

Bringing up how his infrequent calls without it sounding like a problem in his eyes, is going to be tough, and I’m not exactly sure how you can go about that. In your situation, I really think that this should be something you deal with head on. Communication is obviously very important to you, and he needs to know that. He also needs to know that you care about how much effort he puts into your relationship. I know that you don’t want to use up your precious time with him on the phone having this discussion, but when you really think about it, you’re not wasting time at all. It will be time well spent in the long run; all couples have to work together on problems in their relationship to make it better.

To try to avoid making him get defensive and upset, you may want to start off telling him that you’re not upset with him and that you understand that he has a lot of work to do for his job. Tell him that you’re just upset with the situation. And stress that. You already know that he has said, if it weren’t for the demands of this job, he’d have more time to put in the effort you deserve into this relationship.

Try to look on the bright side. You said, “I’m thinking if it’s only been a month, and I’m having a hard time dealing with this…how much more longer can I take this?” But you’ve made it that month! And that first month has got to be the worst. It was his first month back in Europe on the job. He has been transitioning and getting settled. Things may very well get better from here.

If there is a huge time difference that is also affecting your time together see if you both can communicate in other ways that doesn’t require you both to be free. Email is a classic example. I suggested a site on our Things For LDR Couples To Do list. It is EyeJot.com, and it lets you send video messages back and forth. You may not be able to use Skype at the same time, but maybe he can find a few minutes out of every day to send you a short video. And you could do the same. Don’t hesitate to request something small like this. It’s only a few minutes, and it’s something he could do right before he goes to bed at the end of the day when all his work is done. And even if you still only talk twice a week, wouldn’t being able to see him on a daily basis, even for a few minutes a day (and knowing he is putting the effort in to do it for you) make you feel better about the whole situation? I really think this is a possibility if he won’t have much free time for phone calls (or has a better cell phone plan) in the near future.

Hope this helps!

Michelle

T says…

Hi Michelle,

Thanks for the quick reply and I look forward to Frank’s response too. The other thing I forgot to mention is that the last we talked about this, he said he only has the mental and emotional energy to put in the effort that he has now. When I mentioned that it’s also nice and would make me happy if he could maybe even call for 1-2 minutes out of his day just to say hi. He replied that he doesn’t have the energy too. So I think even doing the video thing at the end of the day he may not be able to do….or willing to do. This is not just a job he’s undertaking he pretty much owns the company and trying to bring it out from near bankruptcy. So from that standpoint I understand the stress and the huge responsibility.

So it’s tough for me to see how long I can be in a long distance relationship when obviously taking care of his company is his main priority. I don’t want to add pressure on him but it just really feels that there is not a lot of room to focus on our relationship. On the other hand, I feel it’s too soon and rash of me to want to end it. And he is the first guy where I felt he was right for me (or at least had that feeling when we were in the same location and going out).

I was thinking my approach would be to ease off and lessen my focus and stress on the LDR. And just keep it casual and friendly with him, and when he has more stability that maybe something can reblossom again…but for the time being I’ll continue with my life and move on a bit. ButI’m still confused and torned 🙂

Frank says…

Hi T, I think, simply, that this relationship needs to ease off for the time being. There is no sense in you putting in a ton of effort to be with him when he himself can’t return the effort. This is not to say that you should completely end it. From the little about your relationship you told us, it seems like you like each other a good amount, and to just give it all up would be a waste. Maintain contact, but consider keeping it casual, even to the point of seeing other people if you really want to.

I read the little extra you sent. I think that trying to force, or at least asking him to put in more effort is causing him more stress. It will be tough, but becoming just friends for the time might be a good idea; friends that care about each other a lot. Send care packages occasionally, and an e-mail here and there. But, yes, I feel this might be the best way for both of you to stay sane. Trying to force this relationship with all this stress might break you two apart for good. You need to maintain your happiness, don’t forget. Good luck!

Frank

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Comments 2

  1. This relationship need effort from both parties, if one does not value the relationship don't compell the person to do so live your life.

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